House of Commons Hansard #114 of the 40th Parliament, 3rd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was charter.

Topics

Office of Public sector integrity
Oral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Okanagan—Coquihalla
B.C.

Conservative

Stockwell Day President of the Treasury Board and Minister for the Asia-Pacific Gateway

Mr. Speaker, we will examine all of the Auditor General's recommendations. Her report contains some good recommendations. We will also put a process in place to find a new commissioner. We hope the acting commissioner will examine all of the concerns that are affecting many people. We hope to get some answers to the problems raised by the employees in that office.

Office of Public sector integrity
Oral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Bloc

Meili Faille Vaudreuil-Soulanges, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Auditor General noted that several complaints were arbitrarily rejected by the former ethics commissioner, often without any investigation. This casts some doubt on the handling of all the complaints brought before the Office of the Public Sector Integrity Commissioner over the past three years.

Therefore, will the government ensure that all those files are properly reviewed as soon as possible?

Office of Public sector integrity
Oral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Okanagan—Coquihalla
B.C.

Conservative

Stockwell Day President of the Treasury Board and Minister for the Asia-Pacific Gateway

Mr. Speaker, in our view, all of the problems mentioned by my hon. colleague and by the Auditor General are important. Staff members have indicated that there were problems. We hope that all of the cases will be examined.

Employment Insurance
Oral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Bloc

Yves Lessard Chambly—Borduas, QC

Mr. Speaker, in response to a question concerning the pilot project that reduced the number of hours required for unemployed people applying for employment insurance for the first time, a project which ended on December 4, the Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development stated that this pilot project had been useless and very expensive. A number of unemployed people benefited from it, meaning that this loosening of the rules is critical.

What is the minister waiting for to recognize the value of this pilot project and extend it?

Employment Insurance
Oral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Haldimand—Norfolk
Ontario

Conservative

Diane Finley Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development

Mr. Speaker, as I have already said, we implement pilot projects to see if certain ideas work or not. We tried this idea and it did not work. We did not meet the program's goals and it was very expensive.

We want to help people work. That is why we have invested in training to give people the skills they need to get work today and in the future. The member should have supported us in that effort.

Employment Insurance
Oral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Bloc

Yves Lessard Chambly—Borduas, QC

Mr. Speaker, again, the minister is saying that employment insurance serves to train the claimants. Her argument does not make sense for workers in regions with high unemployment where it is very difficult to obtain the 910 hours required for the initial application.

Will the minister recognize the importance of this measure for these workers, and does she intend to make pilot project number 13 permanent?

Employment Insurance
Oral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Haldimand—Norfolk
Ontario

Conservative

Diane Finley Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development

Mr. Speaker, there are ideas that work and there are ideas that do not. We have already expanded the programs that were beneficial to the unemployed and the economy. This pilot project was not a good idea and that is why we cancelled it. We will continue to work for Canada's taxpayers to ensure that their money is well spent.

Seniors
Oral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Liberal

Gerry Byrne Humber—St. Barbe—Baie Verte, NL

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister told the House the policy of denying GIS benefits for seniors who make emergency withdrawals from their RRIF has been reversed, not put on hold but cancelled outright.

The House has been given false information. Internal documents I have obtained, issued to Service Canada processing staff on November 26 and 30, confirm that the May 17 policy to cut GIS benefits still stands and still is the policy of the Government of Canada today.

How do the Prime Minister and the minister explain their earlier statements?

Seniors
Oral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Haldimand—Norfolk
Ontario

Conservative

Diane Finley Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development

Mr. Speaker, let me be very clear. That change in policy has been cancelled. All applications that were made from May 2010 until the cancellation will be re-evaluated based on the rules prior to May, so everything is going to continue as it was before, because we want to make sure that the GIS is fair and helps those who need it most.

Seniors
Oral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Liberal

Gerry Byrne Humber—St. Barbe—Baie Verte, NL

Mr. Speaker, the minister can misinform the House all she wants. These documents spell out exactly what is happening within her department today. It is business as usual at Service Canada. Make an emergency withdrawal of RRIF savings; lose the GIS in return. Contrary to what was promised, there has been absolutely no directive to re-evaluate anyone previously turned down. The secret May 17 policy still stands. The minister has given one directive, however; all future GIS applications are indefinitely to be buried in the mailroom so that this truth could not be leaked out.

What is worse, a lie or a cover-up?

Seniors
Oral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Haldimand—Norfolk
Ontario

Conservative

Diane Finley Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development

Mr. Speaker, if the gentleman wants to, he should contribute it to the House.

Let me say, we have cancelled this change. We have cancelled it, we have cancelled it, we have cancelled it. Could I be more clear about that? We want to make sure that Canadians who need their GIS do get it. We are going to be operating under the old rules. We are putting that in place retroactively so that anyone who was applying under the rules after May 17 gets re-evaluated based on the old rules. That is what we have promised to do. That is what we are doing.

Seniors
Oral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Liberal

Michael Savage Dartmouth—Cole Harbour, NS

Mr. Speaker, this Christmas, there are many more Canadians living in poverty than there were when the government took office. Seniors poverty is up 25%, but while the government can find $1 billion for its bloated G8 meeting, seniors suffer. While the Conservatives were making merry at their Christmas party last night, their senators danced out long enough to kill a bill that would have made Christmas a little bit brighter for disabled Nortel employees.

Merry Christmas from their government. This on top of shafting our poor seniors by cutting their GIS. Our seniors have stood up for this country for years. Why does their government not stand up for them now?

Seniors
Oral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Haldimand—Norfolk
Ontario

Conservative

Diane Finley Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development

Mr. Speaker, when it comes to standing up for seniors, we have done it several times when the member and his Liberal colleagues did not. We stood up and voted in the House for splitting the pension income for seniors. We stood up in the House when it came to the GIS exemption. We stood up for making sure that seniors could work more and still collect GIS.

We are standing up for seniors. Liberals should try it once in a while.

Seniors
Oral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Liberal

Michael Savage Dartmouth—Cole Harbour, NS

Mr. Speaker, come on. Poverty in this country is a national disgrace. Governments make choices. They can find billions of dollars for untendered planes but nothing for seniors. Seniors poverty is up 25%. Poverty is up 2.5%. We have more people living in the streets, kids going without food, skyrocketing debt, and people with increased debt loads. Those are facts, but those are the choices that the Conservatives make. The government does not seem to give a damn. What does it say to the poor, “Let them eat planes”?

Seniors
Oral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Haldimand—Norfolk
Ontario

Conservative

Diane Finley Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development

Mr. Speaker, let us face it: when it comes to caring about seniors, we put our money where our mouth is. We are the ones who took 85,000 seniors off the tax rolls by reducing their taxes so that they had more money in their pockets, not in the government's pockets. We brought in pension income-splitting for seniors. We raised the age credit.

We are doing it for Canadians. All the Liberals are trying to do is scare them. That is not right. That is not fair and it is not helping seniors.

The other thing the Liberals want to do is raise the carbon tax. They want to raise the GST. That will take money out of seniors' pockets. That will not help.